We nailed last week's primary pick as LSU's offense managed to cover the spread despite only showing up for one quarter in their 17-6 win over Florida. Unfortunately, we also correctly predicted that we would regret picking A&M (-6.5) over Ole Miss -- they won by 3 after the teams combined to score 41 fourth-quarter points. Nevertheless, we're pretty happy with our 8-5 record in conference picks on the season.
It's hard to pick an SEC Game of Interest this week. There's something to like about nearly every conference game being played. So we'll just pick the three games that ought to be the most competitive: South Carolina (-7.5) at Tennessee, Florida (-3) at Missouri, and LSU (-7.5) at Ole Miss.
The picks: South Carolina -7.5, Mizzou +3, LSU -7.5
Why you should care: In order, we care because of the division race, the division race, and the conference race.
Rationale: South Carolina is going to murder Tennessee. The Gamecocks' offense is a handful, their defense is nasty, and they should be motivated after our loss to Mizzou last weekend put them back in the divisional hunt. The only thing Tennessee really has going for it right now is the ACL-hungry Indian burial ground that is Shields-Watkins Field at Neyland Stadium. Maybe this is just sour grapes, but I expect the OBC's domination of the Creamsicles to continue. He's 12-7 against them as an SEC head coach.
The trickiest pick of the bunch is Florida at Missouri. We know first-hand that Mizzou is a legit team, but starting QB James Franklin is out for 3-5 weeks. That's never a good thing, but it's particularly bad when the conference's best defense is coming to town. However, Tiger backup Maty Mauk apparently gave Franklin a run for his money during fall camp, and they won't have to score too many points to stay ahead of a Florida offense that started the season bad and may be more injury riddled than us. (They've lost seven players, five of whom were starters, including their starting QB, RB, and WR1.) The fact that the Tigers are getting three points at home makes this line too tempting to pass up.
I'm not thinking too hard about taking LSU -7.5 at Ole Miss. The Bayou Bengals may just be the best in the West. They nearly beat us on the road when we were near full strength, Alabama has looked mortal, and Texas A&M's defense is next-to-last in the conference. (We're last. *sigh*.) Ole Miss is a good team, but they're still a year away from being able to compete with the big boys.